After translating Antoine Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince, the first ever Bikol translation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet will be launched on September 10, 2013 at 4:30 in the afternoon at the Arrupe Convention Center, Ateneo de Naga University. Translated by Fr. Wilmer S. Tria, one of the foremost translators in the region today, the new project is accompanied by several artworks done by Bernie Faustine Brijuega and book design by Pen Prestado. Both artists are new members of the Burikbutikan Artists Collective, a group of visual artists, writers and cultural workers in the region. The book is published by Ina nin Bikol Foundation Inc.
Fr. Tria considers literary translation as one of the primary tasks any serious Bikol writer should face in order to continue strengthening the cultural renaissance happening in the region today. Asked why he keeps translating classical texts into Bikol, when one can easily just get a copy in English, Fr. Tria argued that not all Bikolanos read English editions. “These literary translations are meant primarily for all those Bikolanos who have a high regard for Bikol. It is time now that we in the academe should recognize the people from the margins whose first and only language is Bikol. We should give them opportunities to read and be empowered by our own Bikol tongue. We should also encourage more young people to learn and appreciate Bikol and because by way of translation, we are able to link Bikol to the world and the world to Bikol”, Fr. Tria said.
Widely regarded as a literary masterpiece, the first edition of The Prophet contains the visual artworks rendered by Gibran himself. Since 1926, there are more than 40 translations of this work, which contains twenty-six prose poetry that talks about the deep intricacies of love, friendship, faith, marriage, wealth and death. A Filipino translation of the same book by the poet Ruth Elynia Mabanglo appeared in 2011. The public is invited to attend.